Friday, January 19, 2018

To Every Mother of "Just One Child"

I had the wonderful opportunity to speak for a MOPS group yesterday morning. And after the meeting I had a conversation with one of the moms - which I want to share with you today. In the hopes that you are, or know someone, who needs to be in on it, too.

This particular young woman has a daughter and, unless God decides to perform a miracle, it looks like she won't be having any more children. So she wanted to ask me, since she only has one child - is it wrong for her to feel overwh... That is, she wondered, because she has just one child - and not two or three or four like other moms, shouldn't she be more rela... Er, see, she wanted to know if I thought since she doesn't have a bunch of kids if, if she should...
"never get frustrated, or feel overwhelmed, or want to cry?" I said, finishing the question for her.
Yeah. That was what she was trying to ask.
This dear young woman was feeling guilty for feeling overwhelmed - because she only has one child.
As if somehow it isn't OK to struggle until you have several kids. As if somewhere there is a rule saying all mothers of single children must have it all together all the time. As if it is unacceptable for someone to think they have a hard time when their time isn't as hard as someone else's.
As if, my big toe!!!
I sort of got onto a soapbox and shared with her rather passionately my belief that wherever we are in motherhood, with whatever number of children we have, we're going to face struggles. That a mother of one isn't "less than" because she doesn't have two and yet feels overwhelmed. And a mother of two isn't a "failure" because she has trouble managing the day, while another mother who has three children seems to be getting along quite nicely. And so on.
The thing is, I think mothers are way to prone to being driven by comparison and feelings of guilt. And I think this dear young woman was stuck right there in the middle of it. So we talked about letting go of the guilt, and not believing the lies our enemy tries to feed us. And we prayed, and we hugged. And that was all good.
But I can't get her out of my mind now.
So I wanted to write this post for her - and every other mother like her.

Dear Mother of "Just One Child",
When I was a mother of just one child, some days I felt like a rock star if I was showered and dressed by 2 in the afternoon. When I only had one child I sometimes cried myself to sleep because I didn't know what I was doing and I couldn't get her to stop crying, either. Before I had my second child, I was tired and unsure of myself and some days I didn't think I was going to make it to the next day. When it was just me, hubby, and baby there were times when I longed for it to be just me and hubby again. Because, darn it! One kid was difficult!!!
AND, I was amazed by and so thankful for the precious little human God had chosen to give me.
(For the record, I had the very same feelings when I had my second child. And my third.)
See, motherhood is a challenge - because it is a challenge. Regardless of how many children call you, "Mommy." Please don't beat yourself up because someone else - who has more children than you do - looks like she has it down. Please don't listen to the lie which says you should be able to handle this gig perfectly, since you only have one child. Or the one which says you have no right to be tired and overwhelmed, because there's only one little person depending on you. They're lies! Nothing more.
Instead, please join me at the foot of the cross with every other mother who is willing to admit she cannot do this mothering thing alone. Here, where we are free to be real, where there is no judgment or condemnation, where the King will lift us up and make us new.


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